One year on, Nurul Izzah says jailed Anwar not too old to lead


(Malay Mail Online) – On the first anniversary of Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s first day in prison, daughter Nurul Izzah Anwar insisted that his age did not preclude him from being leader of the opposition.

Speaking to an estimated crowd of 500 supporters gathered outside of Sungai Buloh Prison to mark the anniversary, Nurul Izzah compared Anwar to 74-year-old US Democratic presidential candidate Bernie Sanders.

“Some say that Anwar is old and that we need to find a replacement, or that we need someone from the newer generation to fight in Parliament,” she told the crowd at the event dubbed “Himpunan 365”.

“But don’t forget, in the US right now, 74-year-old senior citizen Bernie Sanders is fighting against the the gap between the rich and the poor. If they are able to do it in Iowa, why should we give up against Najib Razak?”

She added that her family had not expected for Anwar to again be behind bars 18 years from his first arrest in 1998, but expressed confidence in heading into the next general elections despite it.

Nurul Izzah added that imprisoning Anwar would not break the opposition as others would rise up to take his place.

“We must never give in, and we will fight to the end. We represent 52 per cent of the people. We have won before, and believe me, insyaallah, we will win again,” she said to cheers from the crowd of supporters.

Parti Amanah Negara president Mohamad Sabu also took to the stage to express his frustration over the passing of time as well in a five minute satirical spiel calling himself and Malaysians cowards for taking too long a time to make a change in governance.

“How long will we continue in this situation? I am approaching 60 years of age and Malaysians still have not changed. Everyone of all races, ask yourselves, are we really fighting, or just playing with slogans to appease the heart of our brother in prison here? Let us rise,” he said before throwing his microphone against the backdrop of the stage.

The event saw speeches being given by political leaders that included among others PKR secretary-general Rafizi Ramli, Penang Deputy Chief Minister Mohd Rashid Hasnon, Amanah lawmaker Dr Mohamad Hatta Ramli, DAP’s Ng Sue Lim and Parti Sosialis Malaysia central committee member S. Arutchelvan.

PKR president Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah launched the event with the release of a dozen pigeons to signify the 12 months her husband Anwar had spent in prison.

On February 10, 2015, the Federal Court upheld the Court of Appeal’s conviction of Anwar for sodomising his former political aide Mohd Saiful Bukhari Azlan in 2008.

The conviction meant Anwar was disqualified as MP and will be barred from contesting in an election for five years after his release.

Anwar, a former deputy prime minister and also former Permatang Pauh MP who previously spent six years in prison between 1999 and 2004, is currently serving the five-year jail term.